Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway track becomes operational

Eurasia News

Monitoring Desk: Long-awaited transport corridor for goods carried between Asia and Europe was inaugurated on Monday near Baku as first goods train rolled on Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway track.

The opening of track ceremony was attended by President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov.

BTK railway track is being considered as a new Eurasian bridge and shortest route to China to reach Europe while bypassing Russia and Iran.

Baku–Tbilisi–Kars (BTK) railway will play a pivotal role to carry Chinese goods to Europe and will link Caspian Sea with Black Sea. Avoiding Armenia, track will link port of Baku with Kars city of Turkey where it connects Turkish railways system. This route will provide a passage to Kazakhstan to reach Turkey—-the Europe.

Chinese goods passing through Kazakhstan will ultimately reach Turkey therefore this link will connect Asia to Europe through Eastern European country—Georgia.

The agreement for the construction of the BTK was signed in Tbilisi in 2007.

Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway track becomes operational
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway track becomes operational

Regional experts believe that BTK is emerging New Silk Road network of trade and transport corridors that are coming together between China and Europe.

BTK will cater 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of freight at the initial stage. The capacity will then reach 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of cargo in next three years.

Addressing opening ceremony at Caspian port city of Alat (New port of Baku), Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said  that BTK is the shortest and most reliable link between Europe and Asia  and 846 kilometer railways route will provide an alternative route to existing rail services carrying cargo from Asia (China) to Europe via Russia and Iran. It may be mentioned that sleeper-car trains will link Baku to Istanbul, providing a unique opportunity to tourists to see three countries (Turkey—Georgia—Azerbaijan) in one ticket.

While addressing ceremony, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Chinese goods will reach Europe in just 12 to 15 days through BTK route.